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Federal Tort Claims Act

Description: The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits.
Date: April 27, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry & Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes

Description: This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It includes statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994), as well as other statutes concerning animal protection and conservation.
Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Judge Samuel Alito's Opinions in Freedom of Speech Cases

Description: This report examines his major judicial opinions, both for the majority and in dissent, in freedom of speech cases. It also briefly discusses some cases in which he joined the opinion for the court but did not write it. This report examines Judge Alito’s free speech opinions by subject area.
Date: December 9, 2005
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Applying the FCC's Indecency Restriction to Cable Television

Description: Various federal officials have spoken in favor of extending the Federal Communication Commission’s indecency restriction, which currently applies to broadcast television and radio, to cable and satellite television. This report examines whether such an extension would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.
Date: December 1, 2005
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Awards of Attorneys' Fees by Federal Courts and Federal Agencies

Description: In the United States, the general rule, which derives from common law, is that each side in a legal proceeding pays for its own attorney. There are many exceptions, however, in which federal courts, and occasionally federal agencies, may order the losing party to pay the attorneys’ fees of the prevailing party. The major common law exception authorizes federal courts (not agencies) to order a losing party that acts in bad faith to pay the prevailing party’s fees. This report discusses the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), which makes the United States liable for attorneys’ fees of up to $125 per hour in many court cases and administrative proceedings that it loses (and some that it wins) and fails to prove that its position was substantially justified.
Date: January 24, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"

Description: It has been proposed that Congress prohibit the sale or rental to minors of video games that are rated “M” (mature) or “AO” (adults-only) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. This board is a non-governmental entity established by the Interactive Digital Software Association, and its ratings currently have no legal effect.
Date: January 18, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name

Description: It is unclear whether making a “.xxx” domain mandatory would violate the First Amendment. Some propose making use of a “.xxx” domain voluntary, but others propose that Congress make it mandatory. The latter proposal raises the question whether a mandatory separate domain would violate the First Amendment, and this report focuses on that question.
Date: January 3, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Description: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Date: November 5, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Description: This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Gun Industry Liability: Lawsuits and Legislation

Description: This report discusses gun industry liability issues after the Maryland Court of Appeals announced that it was changing the common law "to hold the manufacturers and marketers of Saturday Night Special handguns strictly liable to innocent persons who suffer gunshot injuries from the criminal use of their products." Kelley v. R.G. Industries, Inc., 497 A.2d 1143, 1159 (Md. 1985).
Date: March 30, 1999
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Awards of Attorneys' Fees by Federal Courts and Federal Agencies

Description: In the United States, the general rule, which derives from common law, is that each side in a legal proceeding pays for its own attorney. There are many exceptions, however, in which federal courts, and occasionally federal agencies, may order the losing party to pay the attorneys' fees of the prevailing party. There are roughly two hundred statutory exceptions, which were generally enacted to encourage private litigation to implement public policy.
Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes

Description: This report contains summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It does not include treaties, although it does include statutes enacted to implement treaties. It includes statutes concerning animals that are not entirely, or not at all, animal protection statutes. For example, it includes a statute authorizing the eradication of predators, because one of the statute's purposes is to protect domestic and "game" animals; and it includes statutes to conserve fish, although their ultimate purpose may not be for the fishes' benefit. It also includes statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and even includes statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994).
Date: December 18, 2008
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally, the report takes note of some state Son-of-Sam statutes that have been enacted since the Supreme Court decision.
Date: November 30, 1998
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Status

Description: This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It does not include treaties, although it does include statutes enacted to implement treaties. It includes statutes concerning animals that are not entirely, or not at all, animal protection statutes. For example, it includes a statute authorizing the eradication of predators, because one of the statute’s purposes is to protect domestic and “game” animals; and it includes statutes to conserve fish, although their ultimate purpose may not be for the fishes’ benefit. It also includes statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals, and even includes statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates (the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994).
Date: October 16, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department